THE PAPER CHASE — IS SPERANZO ‘STONEWALLING’ THE POLICE REQUEST TO BYRNES HEARING TAPE? … AND HAS THE AUDIO RECORDING OF THE BYRNES HEARING ALSO MAGICALLY DISAPPEARED? … RUSH TO JUDGMENT: VOX DECISION TO PULL LIMBAUGH MADE LOCALLY; WBEC DISSES A LOT OF LOYAL LISTENERS … plus … RUSH II — FLUKE’s TESTIMONY WAS NOT BEFORE CONGRESS; IT WAS ONLY STAGED TO LOOK THAT WAY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012) — In the Nilan Moore Case, as most are familiar with, Team Nilan made what on the surface appears to be an incredulous claim at her arraignment.
Barrister Tim Shugrue claimed that because key documents have gone missing, the case should be thrown out. He then continued the probable fiction — it would appear, though we allow the law’s presumption of “innocence” — entering a ”not guilty” for Miss Nilan.
Naturally, Nilan did not attend the arraignment, an act of omission for a stand-up act that added to the belief that she has consistently failed to act responsibly in this case on almost every level of human consideration, not the least of which is from an attitude of care, compassion, and remorse. To the opposite: Based on her actions and inactions, the appearance is one of a spoiled, immature conceited brat who’s used to others cleaning up her mess. Of course, we could be wrong. We can’t see into her heart, a blindness, thank God, that allows great vision elsewhere.
Is Speranzo’s Office Stonewalling the PPD’s Request for a Copy of the Audio Tape in the Byrnes Hearing?
As if that wasn’t enough, we present the latest development in this melodrama.
THE PLANET has learned from sources that the Pittsfield Police Department has been trying for several weeks to obtain either a copy of the two-and-a-half-hour audio tape. That was the hearing held without public notice Jan. 12 by Nathan Byrnes, a magistrate brought in by unknown parties from Westfield to preside at a show-cause hearing to determine if the police had enough evidence against the Nilan to proceed to trial.
The police want the tape for obvious reasons. They wish to glean if for new information in the case. At the least, the material will have information to augment the police report. At the best, from the PPD’s standpoint, someone said something of a “smoking gun” nature. Sit down for what’s coming next.
Reliable sources tell us that one of PPD’s points of inquiry is to find out if the Byrnes hearing was conducted under oath. Let that sink in. Apparently, there is doubt that the witnesses and testimony were taken under penalty of perjury. If, and we only say if, there were no oaths, then anyone could have said anything without consequences. Are you beginning to see the pattern here, ladies and gentleman?
We wonder: If there another jurisdiction in the world, including the People’s Democratic Republic of North Korea, where this would even be raised as a question?
Moreover, and even more troubling, according to sources, is the concern that “the Berkshire County Clerk of Court’s office has not been cooperative” with the PPD’s request for a copy of the audio tape. Sources say the clerk’s office “has, in fact, stonewalled the process.”
The clerk in Berkshire County is, by the way, Christopher Speranzo — No Show himself.
No Oaths? Secrecy? Barring the Victim and Victim’s Attorney? Most Everything about the Byrnes Hearing Suggests a Sham
Byrnes did not notify the public of the date of the hearing. He then closed the Jan. 12 hearing to the pubic. He barred Peter Moore from attending. He barred Peter Moore’s family from attending. He barred Peter Moore’s attorney from attending. We don’t even know who attended or what evidence Byrnes considered or disallowed. It appears that Shugrue attended. Did Meredith Nilan attend? Did Clifford Nilan attend? Were they allowed to speak? Were they speaking under oath, or freelancing, as it were? No transcript of the hearing was released.
To no one’s surprise, Byrnes threw the police case out, claiming insufficient evidence. That whopper was roundly and rightfully thrashed by practically every neutral observers. On the other hand, Friends of Cliffy and other FOCs sang hymns of praise and hallelujah. They likely thought The Fix had worked and that, like the old days, pre-Internet, they could control the flow of information by hand-feeding the Boring Broadsheet a GOB version of events, shutting out everyone else, and declaring victory.
The Fix, they said, had been dialed in after initial attempts to control the information and keep the whole thing secret failed.
The police appealed, and the appellate judge, William Hadley, loudly overturned Byrnes hearing, determining it to be in essence disingenuous, faulty, and certain not warranted by the facts of the case as we know the now. That being said, THE PLANET, Perry Mason, and Judge Crater believes there are many more facts to be disclosed in the hunt for the truth of what happened on Dec. 8.
Chief Wynn Confirms Police Asked for But Have Not Yet Received the Byrnes Audio Tape
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn confirmed for THE PLANET, on the record, that officer Mark Maddalena “made a written request for a recording. As of today [March 5], we haven’t received one.” The PPD wait for a response from the court continues, as of today, according to our best knowledge. This makes us wonder: Why is is taking the police department months to obtain a simple yet vital court record?
Police Captain John Mullin told THE PLANET that Maddalena made his request of the clerk’s office shortly after the Byrnes hearing. Captain Mullin didn’t supply a specific date, but other police sources say a request for a copy of the tape was made almost immediately after Byrnes announced his decision. If true, it means the PPD has been waiting on the clerk’s office for nearly two months on what would ordinarily be a routine procedural request.
Mullin, on the record, said Maddalena made his request of the clerk’s office “within a short time of the hearing.” Asked why the police want to audio tape, Mullin said, “We would like to use it as sworn testimony. [But] was that testimony? I don’t know that [Byrnes conducted] the hearing under oath. We are doing research on the rules of criminal procedure that govern that. [The department] is in the middle of that now. We don’t have subpoena power. We have to made a request [of the clerk].”
Mullin added that the record of the hearing is important to the police in the likely event that “one [or more] of the witnesses was more detailed or more forthcoming” than in their previous statements. That would make the testimony evidence “that we would like to have but that we don’t have now.”
Capt. Mullin: DA David Capeless is Now the Prosecutor of the Case on Behalf of The People
THE PLANET asked Capt. Mullin of he was surprised that Hadley threw out Byrnes’ ruling: “In our investigation, we determined there was probable cause. I thought there was enough [on Meredith Nilan] to go forward to trial.” Mullin said that up to the time of the magistrate’s hearing, the police department was the prosecutor in the case, but after Judge Hadley’s ruling to overturn Byrnes’ decision District Attorney David Capeless became the prosecutor. “The DA and the police will be working closely together going forward,” Mullin said. Capeless, citing a conflict of interest based on his long-standing relationship with Clifford Nilan, recused himself. The prosecution is now in the hands of a highly regarded DA from Worcester.
PLANET: “Did you ask the DA to help the police in your attempt to get the audio tape of the Brynes hearing?”
CAPT. MULLIN: “I don’t know if one of my officers has asked the DA for help in obtaining records.”
PLANET: “Would you like to see that happen?”
CAPT. MULLIN: “I would expect the DA and the officers preparing the case would want that record.”
The plot is thickening and now has the consistency of the contents of a jar of molasses left out on the porch during a winter cold snap.
The revelation that Speranzo’s office is apparently stonewalling the PPD immediately leads to a lot of obvious and troubling questions regarding the impartiality of justice in this case, a concern that has been present since a little after 8:15 p.m. on the chilly night of Dec. 8.
VOX SAYS DECISION TO PULL RUSH WAS MADE LOCALLY
So far, only two stations in the 600-or-so chain of stations that air The Rush Limbaugh Show have dropped the show. One of them, of course, is Pittsfield’s own WBEC AM 1420, part of the out-of-state Vox chain.
It’s unclear whether the decision was made locally or from Vox HQ. We placed a call to Bruce Danzinger, managing partner and president of Vox Communications (or is it called Vox Radio Group?) in in Wellesley, Mass., whose office is in Newton.
[An aside: The odd thing is that the parent company apparently doesn’t not have a website. Try to find it. You won’t. Also, is Vox based in Wellesley? Newton? South Burlington, Vt.? We got three different cities, and it's hard to get a straight answer. No web site? A revolving corporate HQ? A changing corporate name? Hmmmm.]
We also placed a voice mail with Peter Barry, GM at WBEC/WUPE asking for a comment.
Who Ordered WBEC to Pull the Plug on Rush?
So who ordered the plug be pulled in the most popular radio show in the United States?
“It happened the way all things happen in our company,” Danzinger said. “The local manager [Barry] came to us. He said ‘We want to do this’ and we agreed with it.” Danzinger said Barry didn’t have to convince Vox HQ of the desire/need/case to send Rush to the showers, adding that corporate not only supported the decision but agreed with it.
When we began to follow up with more questions, Danzinger turned defensive, referring repeatedly to the statement the Vox group issued. We had not received a copy, and Danzinger said he would have Barry send the statement to us. Here is the official statement, word for word:
For Immediate Release
Contact: Peter Barry
Market Manager/1420 AM WBEC
Ph 413 499 3333
AM 1420 WBEC RELEASES STATEMENT REGARDING THE REMOVAL OF RUSH LIMBAUGH FROM THE AIRWAVES
DUE TO THE INAPPROPRIATE REMARKS MADE BY RUSH LIMBAUGH, REGARDING SANDRA FLUKE, THE MANAGEMENT OF AM1420 WBEC HAS MADE THE DECISION TO REMOVE THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW FROM THE PROGRAMMING LINE-UP EFFECTIVE MARCH 5TH. RUSH LIMBAUGH ‘S COMMENTS DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWPOINTS OF THE STATION MANAGEMENT AND WE APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE WHO MAY HAVE BEEN OFFENDED BY HIS REMARKS. WHILE WE UNDERSTAND THE CONTROVERSIAL NATURE OF TALK RADIO AND ENCOURAGE POLITICAL DISCOURSE, WE BELIEVE THERE ARE WAYS TO DO THAT WITHOUT EXCEEDING THE BOUNDS OF CIVILITY. RUSH’S DEFAMATORY AND DISPARAGING REMARKS ABOUT MS. FLUKE CLEARLY VIOLATED THE STANDARDS WE HAVE SET FOR OUR STATIONS AND LEFT US NO CHOICE BUT TO REMOVE HIM FROM OUR AIRWAVES.
211 Jason Street • Pittsfield, MA 01201 • Telephone (413) 499-3333 • Fax (413) 442-1590
“I think the statement covers everything,” Danzinger said in response to our attempt at questions, including when we asked Vox was concerned that it had slapped a lot of loyal listeners in the face, sending them off to other area stations that carry Rush, including the megawatt WGY Radio 81 in Schenectady, NY. “I would really rather not answer that. I’ve already said all I’m going to say. The statement says it all.” He said he had other more important things to do than to rehash this episode. Danzinger did say that Vox was getting calls “50-to-1″ supporting the move to yank Limbaugh, though he would not share with us the actual volume of calls or even characterize the traffic.
Barry send THE PLANET a brief statement to augment the company’s press release: “The decision was made at the local level and was not made lightly,” Barry told us. “Rush has been a regular part of our lineup for many years and has a large following of our devoted local listeners. We are currently in the process of selecting replacement programming, and I welcome input from any of your readers on potential replacement programming.”
There you have it, folks: If you have any ideas for Peter Barry, send them to him at the any of the addresses listed on the WBEC press release. Those wishing to share their view on WBEC’s actions can e-mail Danzinger at email@example.com or call 781-239-8018.
TWO BAILING RADIO STATION AND 40 PULLED ADVERTISERS DON’T APPEAR TO HAVE DAMAGED RUSH, THOUGH IT STILL HAS TO BE PLAYED OUT
The two radio stations plus the 40 or so advertisers who pulled out, according to Rush Limbaugh, have not harmed the show financially. Of course, this is Rush making the claim. No show likes to lose advertisers, whether it’s one or 40.
Yesterday, Limbaugh said, “Everything’s cool. … Nobody is losing money in all this, including us. [Advertisers] are not cancelling the business on our stations. They’re just saying they don’t want their spots to appear on my show. We don’t get any revenue from them, anyway. The whole effort is to dispirit [our listeners].”
Audience Attracts Advertisers and Not the Other Way Around
That’s one of the questions we wanted to put to Vox chief Bruce Danzinger that the statement doesn’t address: “How many listeners has WBEC lost in dropping Limbaugh?” Yesterday, THE PLANET did 90 minutes of talk radio on WBRK AM 1340 with Bill Sturgeon, a.k.ak. “the Fat Man,” on Midday Live (the only family owned and operated radio station in Berkshire County). We didn’t discuss the WBEC decision but did talk at length about Rush’s comments and the ensuing controversy.
Listeners attract advertising, we said. Sturgeon, as a man who’s been there and done it, concurred. It doesn’t work the other way around. If WBEC sees a measurable loss in its ratings, that’s could prove out well for rival WBRK. WBEC’s Peter Barry told THE PLANET that the station had lost a large audience of loyal listeners. For many of those who bolted, the adjective “loyal” can be dropped.
RUSH: ’28 Sponsors’ out of 600 a Mere Bag of Shells
Limbaugh estimated that of the 600+ stations that carry his show (now minus two), there are about 18,000 advertising opportunities available every day.
“ABC News, who understands how this works and are purposely misrepresenting it, is out there ballyhooing that we’ve lost 28 sponsors,” Rush said. “Twenty-eight sponsors out of 18,000! That’s like losing a couple of French fries in the container when it’s delivered to you at the drive through. You don’t even notice it.” Interesting analogy.
Here’s the List of Sponsors Who Have Left
Advertisers who have pulled to day include:
Service Magic home contractor
Accuquote Life Insurance
Vitacost vitamin supplier
Bonobos clothing company
Sensa weight- loss program
Thompson Creek Windows
Tax Resolution Services
Legal Zoom online document creator
Carbonite web security firm
Citrix software maker
Sleep Train Mattresses
Sleep Number mattresses
Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services
Constant Contact email marketing firm
Reputation Rhino online reputation consulting firm
St. Vincent’s Medical Center
Regal Assets precious medal investment group
Freedom Debt Relief
Norway Savings Bank
Portland Ovations performing arts center
ABC News Story Tips Its Hand, and Heavily
In recapping the story, Amy Bingham of ABC News shows her bias in a piece written on the ABC website yesterday:
“At last count, 42 advertisers, two radio stations and two musicians have closed the door on Limbaugh following incendiary comments he made last week about a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress in favor of having birth control covered under insurance plans.”
That is inaccurate. Sandra Fluke testified not before Congress but before the House Democratic Steering and Policy subcommittee. Fluke’s testimony was staged to make it look like she was addressing a bipartisan congressional committee — the House Oversight Committee, which was conducting a hearing on women’s health. That’s what the brief taped segments released nationwide made it look like. This was a case of Democrats being disingenuous. The response is: Well, the Democrats tried to call Fluke as a witness before the entire Oversight Committee. True, but what they’re not telling you is that they made this request at the last minute, asking the chairman to pull one of the Democrat’s own witnesses in favor of Fluke.
The chairman, a Republican, made the right call. Witness before congressional committees need to be vetted. Fluke wasn’t. No one on the other side knew anything about her. They were prepared for a difference witness, again, a person the Democrats initially requested and the chairman allowed. He was a man with an expertise in reproductive science. He’s not as cute and photogenic as an angelic Miss Fluke, who, by the way, has no scientific expertise in the subject.
Thus, in Fluke’s “testimony,” she was not addressing a bipartisan panel. That would have opened her up to both friendly and hostile questioning. That may have been too much for the 30-year old activist. Fluke read a brief statement at the “hearing” and didn’t take questions.
Sandra Fluke’s Testimony, in Full: Judge for Yourself
Much has been said about Fluke’s testimony, but few have actually heard or read what she said. THE PLANET presents her remarks in their entirety:
“My name is Sandra Fluke, and I’m a third-year student at Georgetown Law School. I’m also a past-president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ. And I’d like to acknowledge my fellow LSRJ members and allies and all of the student activists with us and thank them so much for being here today. (Applause) “We, as Georgetown LSRJ, are here today because we’re so grateful that this regulation implements the non-partisan medical advice of the Institute of Medicine. “I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraceptive coverage in its student health plan. And just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result, employees at religiously-affiliated hospitals and institutions and universities across the country have suffered similar burdens. “We are all grateful for the new regulation that will meet the critical health care needs of so many women. “Simultaneously, the recently announced adjustment addresses any potential conflict with the religious identity of Catholic or Jesuit institutions. “When I look around my campus, I see the faces of the women affected by this lack of contraceptive coverage.
“And especially in the last week, I have heard more and more of their stories. On a daily basis, I hear yet from another woman from Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously-affiliated employer, and they tell me that they have suffered financially and emotionally and medically because of this lack of coverage. “And so, I’m here today to share their voices, and I want to thank you for allowing them – not me – to be heard. “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary. 40% of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they struggle financially as a result of this policy. “One told us about how embarrassed and just powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter and learned for the first time that contraception was not covered on her insurance and she had to turn and walk away because she couldn’t afford that prescription. Women like her have no choice but to go without contraception. “Just last week, a married female student told me that she had to stop using contraception because she and her husband just couldn’t fit it into their budget anymore. Women employed in low-wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face the same choice. “And some might respond that contraception is accessible in lots of other ways. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. “Women’s health clinic provide a vital medical service, but as the Guttmacher Institute has definitely documented, these clinics are unable to meet the crushing demand for these services. Clinics are closing, and women are being forced to go without the medical care they need. “How can Congress consider the [Rep. Jeff] Fortenberry (R-Neb.), [Sen. Marco] Rubio (R-Fla.) and [Sen. Roy] Blunt (R-Mo.) legislation to allow even more employers and institutions to refuse contraception coverage and then respond that the non-profit clinics should step up to take care of the resulting medical crisis, particularly when so many legislators are attempting to de-fund those very same clinics? “These denial of contraceptive coverage impact real people. “In the worst cases, women who need these medications for other medical conditions suffer very dire consequences.
Fluke Testimony: A Litany of Vague, Unchallenged, Unquestioned Claims
Notice how Fluke doesn’t give one specific example, just vague references to unnamed women.
“Just last week, a married female student told me that she had to stop using contraception because she and her husband just couldn’t fit it into their budget anymore. Women employed in low-wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face the same choice.
In this case we excerpted from Fluke’s testimony, why is it the taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for contraception? Why do Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have to pay because a man can’t keep his manliness out of the woman’s womanliness, and a woman can close her womanhood to his manhood?
Groucho Marx was once a guest on The Dick Cavett Show. Also on the show was a guest, a woman who had a bunch of children (as we recall, she was an author plugging a book). Cavett asked her how come she had so many kids. She answered words to the effect of how much she loved her husband.
Groucho piped in with one of his legendary ad-libs: “Lady, I love my cigar, but even I know enough to take it out once in a while.”
THAT OUGHT TO HOLD YOU, BOYS AND GIRLS, THROUGH THE WEEKEND. WE HEAD INTO OUR WITH A LIGHTNESS OF BEING AND JOY IN OUR HEARTS, DEALING IN MATTERS TOO SOFT A LASTING MARK TO BEAR AND BEST DISTINGUISHED BY BLACK, BROWN, OR FAIR. ENJOY ALL.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.